Context: How athletes from different sports perform on balance tests is not well understood. When prescribing balance exercises to athletes in different sports, it may be important to recognize performance variations.
Objective: To compare static and dynamic balance among collegiate athletes competing or training in soccer, basketball, and gymnastics.
Design: A quasi-experimental, between-groups design. Independent variables included limb (dominant and nondominant) and sport played.
Setting: A university athletic training facility.
Patients or other participants: Thirty-four female volunteers who competed in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I soccer (n = 11), basketball (n = 11), or gymnastics (n = 12).
Intervention(s): To assess static balance, participants performed 3 stance variations (double leg, single leg, and tandem leg) on 2 surfaces (stiff and compliant). For assessment of dynamic balance, participants performed multidirectional maximal single-leg reaches from a unilateral base of support.
Main outcome measure(s): Errors from the Balance Error Scoring System and normalized leg reach distances from the Star Excursion Balance Test were used to assess static and dynamic balance, respectively.
Results: Balance Error Scoring System error scores for the gymnastics group were 55% lower than for the basketball group (P = .01), and Star Excursion Balance Test scores were 7% higher in the soccer group than the basketball group (P = .04).
Conclusions: Gymnasts and soccer players did not differ in terms of static and dynamic balance. In contrast, basketball players displayed inferior static balance compared with gymnasts and inferior dynamic balance compared with soccer players.